ABOUT THE FILM
Roy Camera is a narrative fiction film about power dynamics and new technology. In the story, we follow Roy af Hasselblad, a cinematographer who has recently immigrated to America.
As a teacher of cinematography at Beaver College in beautiful upstate New York, Roy is thrilled to start a new chapter in his life. But his mysterious behavior leads some at the school to question his true identity. Is Roy really the award-winning cinematographer he claims to be? His friendship with colleague Martin Spiegel—a famous experimental filmmaker—propels Roy to create his own film, an essay film about his escape to America. This film-within-the-film soon turns out to be a key that can unlock the true nature of Roy's shadowy past.
Fiction - 82 min.
Written and directed by Jakob S. Boeskov
Ada Lauder Film Production, New York
Producer: Ada Lauder
Actors: Bogdan Kwiatkowski, Michel Auder
Delia Gonzalez, Edward Akrout, Shelby Welinder
Editor: Karen Sakonev
Jakob S. Boeskov is a filmmaker and artist based in Manhattan, New York.
His first film Empire North won the Danish:DOX award prize at CPH:DOX in 2010.
Boeskov’s video works has been shown at Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam) Frankfurter Kunstverein (Frankfurt), Centre Pompidou (Paris) and New Museum (New York).
by Jakob S. Boeskov
I must confess that I don’t believe art is about “self-expresion”. I believe art is a phenomenon more comparable to a “frequency tune-in” where the artist functions as a sort of radio receiver who picks up on certain signals that floats around in time and space.
Roy Camera is a film about nostalgia, this sentiment that I believe is the root of all evil. The main character, Roy af Hasselblad, is a cinematographer and an emigrant from the Baltic region who is obsessed with what he calls “The Terror of Time” and “The Tyrannical Tick-Tock of the Clock.”
Roy af Hasselblad is in other words not the sharpest tool in the shed, and some would argue that it’s cruel to make fun of the feeble-minded. But why? He is, after all, a fictional creature.
The story is a journey into a parallel world, a world which - although it has some similarities with our world - in the end only exist in the mind of the viewer. In that sense, the film has a lot of similarities with a video game. Roy Camera is a film to be experienced, rather than understood.
From surveillance to fantasy, from myth to paranoia, Roy af Hasselblad’s world is a realm of conspiracies and paranoid laughter—colored simultaneously by an old-world totalitarianism and a newer, more digitally engendered version. Despite these heavy subjects, I was surprised to find how amusing it was to create this monster in the laboratory of my mind. Roy is evil, but he is most of all a buffoon. Some will perhaps be surprised that Roy af Hasselblad from time to time offers refreshing insights. But such is the nature of fiction, and sometimes, even the delusional madman can offer compelling—if warped—observations.
Roy Camera had a fragmentary creation process. I became attracted to a new sort of YouTube “documentary”: these self-made films dealing with a dizzying array of subjects ranging from bizarre “flat Earth” theories to alien abductions and so on and on. What compelled me about these homemade films was their ludicrous pretense at being documentaries while they, in fact, are more like “internal fiction films.” In these films, the obsessive focus on facts and conspiracies only serves to lay bare the feverish, internal fictions of their dim-witted male creators.
I don’t think I ever made it completely through any of these outlandish films, but I was becoming more and more drawn to their aesthetic, their fragmentary nature, their use of stock footage and cheap digital effects. These new “documentaries,” with all their flaws, represented a new sort of popular “folk cinema.”
The idea became to take this new “folk cinema” and bend the form to create a narrative fiction film. I dug up an abandoned script of mine called Pink Phone about a paranoid scholar of poetry. I changed the profession of the character, from a professor of poetry to that of a cinematographer, and this is how Roy Camera came into being.
The story was fairly easy to write: it was like making a puzzle—most parts were in place, and my job was merely to fill in the blanks.